Their weddings were extravagant and helped inspire other brides around the world, but one element that has featured in several royal weddings, including Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle’s, actually has a sinister and deadly connotation attached to it.
From their dresses, jewels and tiaras to the other elements that make their weddings seem perfect, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle seemed to live out the real-life happily-ever-after endings of fairytales when they wed Prince William and Prince Harry in 2011 and 2018 respectively. However, an interesting element of their bridal bouquets may not be quite so romantic as the rest of their big days.
According to Express UK, the bouquet that Middleton carried at her wedding, which featured hyacinths (for steady love), ivy (for fidelity and friendship) and myrtle (a royal tradition which is the emblem of matrimony), also featured Lily of the Valley, a beautiful white flower known for its delicate blooms and fragrant scent. However, as beautiful as the flower is, and as prevalent as it has been in royal wedding bouquets, seen in the ones held by Autumn Phillips, Markle and Camilla Parker Bowles as well, it is also very poisonous and can prove fatal in certain conditions.
In an interview with Gardening Know How Certified Urban Agriculturalist Bonnie L. Grant revealed that the blooms are particularly dangerous for domestic pets and young children and should not be featured in most home gardens as a result.
“Few spring flowers are as charming as the nodding, fragrant lily of the valley…However, behind their cute exterior and pleasant scent lies a potential villain,” she said. “Is lily of the valley safe for gardens? Lily of the valley toxicity makes it unsafe to have around children and pets.”
“The plant is so dangerous that ingestion could result in a trip to the emergency room, or in rare cases death,” she added. “Sometimes the smallest organisms pack the biggest wallop. This is the case with Lily of the valley. Is Lily of the valley poisonous? All parts of the plant are considered potentially toxic. The plant contains over 30 cardiac glycosides, many of which inhibit the heart’s pumping activity.”
She warned that the flower can be so dangerous that if ingested, it could even pose a risk to an adult male, even though children and domestic pets are most commonly affected.
And while the royal brides likely were never planning on ingesting the flowers in their bouquets to begin with, they too posed a risk to themselves by carrying it in their bouquets, since on rare occasions, it can also carry the threat of skin reactions.
“It doesn’t matter if only the flowers are eaten or if the entire stem or roots are consumed,” Grant said. “The method of introduction to the toxins is gastronomic, although there are also contact dermatitis reports.”
Markle’s bouquet featured Princess Diana’s favorite flowers, forget-me-nots, as well as sweet peas, lily of the valley, astilbe, jasmine, astrantia and the custom sprig of myrtle. Princess Eugenie also featured lily of the valley, white spray roses, trailing iris and ivy. It’s unclear if Princess Beatrice will also feature the poisonous bloom in her bouquet when she marries Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in 2020.